ARIZONA NEWS

Players protest Maricopa community colleges’ decision to drop football

Feb 28, 2018, 10:14 AM

PHOENIX — A sizable group of people protested Tuesday a board decision to drop the football program at four Maricopa County community colleges.

Videos on social media showed demonstrators — including many student-athletes — marching around the Maricopa County Community College District building in Tempe near State Route 143 and Interstate 10 while the board held a meeting inside.

One of the chants heard was, “Athletes matter.”

Many protesters carried signs that read, “Save JuCo (junior college) football, save our education. We deserve a voice.”

Joe Kersting, the former head football coach at Glendale Community College, said the protest was held to ask the board for an explanation.

“At this point, we’re trying to get some transparency on the issues that have been brought up,” he said. “There are issues related to academic performance of football programs compared to other programs and, from the data that I have been able to find, that information was not correct.”

A task force that reviewed 10 schools’ athletics programs recommended the district cut its schools’ football programs last year, citing funding issues.

Football in the district cost $770,000 each year to operate, which equated to 20 percent of the district’s total athletics budget, and was responsible for more than 50 percent of related insurance costs.

The district was not the first in the nation to make this decision: Only 65 member colleges — out of 530 total — participating in the National Junior College Athletic Association sponsor football programs.

Kersting said the board argued the sport finished last in several academic metrics, something he claimed was untrue.

“On success rates, football is probably second to most of the other male sports that are offered,” he said.

Kersting said other issues — such as costs to run the facilities or upgrade them as needed — didn’t seem to hold water.

“If a football stadium needs to be upgraded or have some different things repaired, that’s going to happen if there’s a football program or not a football program because they’re not going to blow up the stadium and they’re going to keep the facility on their campus, I’d assume,” he said.

The district said costs to maintain the schools’ programs could exceed $20 million in “needed capital improvements and associated expenses.”

Kersting said his program used to welcome about 150 student-athletes each year. He said he did not understand why the schools would accept such a drop in enrollment, especially given the impact the players have on the community.

“Our student-athletes are people that innately are driven to succeed and when you guide that drive into their academics, into their personal lives, into their professional lives, their careers, they accomplish some incredible things.”

KTAR News’ Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix metro sets record with workforce of 2.3 million at end of 2021

The Phoenix metro area had a record number of workers at the end of 2021, the city said in a Wednesday press release.
4 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona utility regulators reject new renewable energy rules for the second time in a year

Arizona's utility regulators have rejected new rules that would have drastically boosted the use of renewable energy for the second time in a year, drawing sharp reaction from clean energy advocates who said the decision leaves the state far behind what is needed to address climate change.
4 hours ago
David Whitaker (Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photo)...
KTAR.com

Arizona sex offender who hid in desert for 107 days sentenced to 25 years behind bars

A 42-year-old man who was accused of sexual contact with a minor and hid for more than 107 days in the desert before being arrested has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona Senate panel OKs working poor tax credit backed by Democrats, Gov. Ducey

A Democratic proposal to create a new tax credit for working low-income Arizonans that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey adopted as part of his budget proposal was approved by an Arizona Senate committee Wednesday.
1 day ago
FILE - This Aug. 19, 2010, file photo shows then-Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan at a new...
Associated Press

Former Arizona prisons director had tequila in system before standoff, police say

Former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan had already consumed a half bottle of tequila by the time officers responded to a call nearly three weeks ago at his Tempe home that he had shot himself, according to police reports released Wednesday that offer a new theory on how the former prisons boss was injured.
1 day ago
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Jeff Flake, the new U.S. ambassador to Turkey, p...
Associated Press

Ex-US Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona begins post as ambassador to Turkey

Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona formally stepped into his new position as U.S. ambassador to Turkey on Wednesday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.
...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
Players protest Maricopa community colleges’ decision to drop football